The Spokane Indians are still trying to chase down Vancouver in the Northwest League standings, but part of the dichotomy of minor league baseball is that players have individual goals to meet as well.
Starter Chris McMahon spent most of the season on the injured list with a lat sprain. Recently activated, the 23-year-old – the Rockies No. 24 prospect according to MLB.com – is trying to build up his arm strength before the end of the season.
On Thursday, he made his third High-A start of the season. It was his longest, and best, thus far.
He didn’t factor in the decision, and though he was trailing 3-0 when he left the game his hitters bailed him out in extra innings.
Robby Martin Jr. delivered a ground rule double to score the inherited runner at second base in the 11th inning and the Indians edged the Canadians 4-3 in the fourth game of a six-game series at Avista Stadium.
The Indians (27-29) halted a six-game losing streak and moved 3 1/2 games behind the Canadians in the overall season-record tiebreaker with nine games remaining.
Trailing 3-2 in the eighth, Colin Simpson led off with a single. Braiden Ward came on as a pinch-runner and he moved up 90 feet on a single through the hole by Mateo Gil. Ronaiker Palma moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt and Bladimir Restituyo’s line-drive out to center was enough to get the tying run home from third.
It stayed tied until the bottom of the 11th, when Martin ripped a 1-2 pitch the opposite way with Restituyo, the free runner, at second. It landed a couple of feet fair, then bounced over the short fence into the grounds crew area for the winning run.
Anderson Bido pitched a scoreless top of the inning to earn the win.
McMahon struck out the last two batters of the sixth to end his evening. He allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. McMahon threw 86 pitches, 53 for strikes.
Vancouver (34-23) opened the scoring in the third. McMahon gave up back-to-back singles to the eighth- and ninth-place hitters in the C’s lineup to put runners at the corners. Vancouver executed a delayed double-steal and while the Indians threw out Michael Turconi at second, Glenn Santiago scampered home to make it 1-0.
In the fifth, McMahon sandwiched a single between two strikeouts, but Damiano Palmegiana got ahold of a hanging breaking ball an deposited it over the wall in left for a two-run shot, his 12th of the season.
The Indians got something going in the bottom half. Restituyo led off with a bunt single and Martin reached on a fielding error. But Nic Kent lined to right and Eddy Diaz bounced into a 5-3 double play to end the burgeoning rally.
The home team loaded the bases with two down in the sixth, but Restituyo grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Kent hit a two-run homer in the seventh, his first as a professional, to get the Indians within range.
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